The six areas where Greece will start exploring for gas are located northwest of the island of Corfu in the Ionian Sea, in the Gulf of Kyparissia and in the sea to the west and southwest of Crete. , as well as in the regional unit of Ioannina.
One onshore area and five offshore areas where hydrocarbon exploration concessions have already been awarded in the past have been selected for the accelerated hydrocarbon exploration process, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at a meeting on Tuesday. held at Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management.
For the areas near Crete, the consortium leading the exploration is made up of the companies Total, ExxonMobil and Hellenic Petroleum, while an Energean-Hellenic Petroleum consortium operates near Corfu, Hellenic Petroleum (HELPE) in the Gulf of Kyparissia and Energean in Ioannina.
The other onshore areas of western Greece where hydrocarbon exploration concessions were granted (Etoloakarnania, Arta, Preveza and the north-western Peloponnese) were returned to the Greek state, while an offshore area in the western Gulf of Patras, where studies have shown the existence of oil and not gas natural resources, will probably also be returned to the Greek state.
“I am very happy that we have been given the opportunity to make a new start and I want to repeat that when it comes to exploration in the natural gas sector, no one can be certain of the outcome. We have indications that make us cautiously optimistic. We need to know with certainty whether there are economically viable reserves to extract. We will find out by the end of 2023,” Mitsotakis stressed during his visit to Hellenic Hydrocarbon Resources Management.
The Prime Minister said that in the new European environment, reducing dependence on Russian natural gas and finding fossil fuel solutions that will guarantee sufficiency and better prices is the only way for Greece.
He clarified that this new route does not deviate from the long-term objective of reducing carbon emissions, while noting that it must be decided whether Greece will only be a storage and transfer hub or whether it will be a natural gas producer. country.
“Greece has a key role to play in the new energy landscape,” Mitsotakis said, adding that “we are here to announce another important choice, that of the producing country.”
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Mitsotakis said the government has announced the acceleration of the exploration and drilling processes for natural gas that Greece is likely to possess in substantial quantities on land and at sea, in exclusive exploitation areas.
He explained that this concerns six areas, one in Epirus and five offshore regions, pointing out that the Russian invasion, rising prices and plans to reduce dependence on Russian demand for natural gas are pushing Greece to review its strategy. .
The Prime Minister said the initial survey program will be completed by the end of 2023 and the first exploratory drilling could take place before the end of the following year.
“If we have quantities that can be extracted economically, we will replace imports with our national wealth,” Mitsotakis said.
Greece’s moves to become independent of Russian natural gas have put it ahead of other European countries, the outgoing US ambassador said. Geoffrey Piatt said Tuesday during a press briefing in Thessaloniki.
During his last official visit to Thessaloniki before completing his term in Greece, Pyatt said it would have been particularly helpful for some of Europe’s biggest countries to have planned over the past decade, as Greece was not dependent the import of Russian natural gas.
Reviewing Greece’s milestones, he said the country now has the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline, the Revythoussa terminal off Attica, and is close to completing the IGB interconnection with Bulgaria and floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in Alexandroupolis.
“The LNG (liquefied natural gas) market is global. The gas will go where the market sends it,” he noted, and “from that perspective, our interest in Greece is not primarily commercial.” As the world’s largest LNG exporter, the United States has a strong tradition of collaborating with corresponding companies in Greece and supports both Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ “absolutely just agenda” in the natural gas, and Europe to become energy independent Russia.
Large segments of the European economy in which the industrial model is centered on imports of natural gas from Russia – including Bulgaria and the Western Balkan states – “now understand much more clearly after February 24 that they don’t want Russia to be their only supplier,” he said, referring to the day Russia invaded Ukraine.
Regarding the energy projects in northern Greece, the American ambassador said that they were important for the whole region, not just for Greece, but he also expressed his concern that the slow pace of the privatization process through the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) does not cause investors to lose interest.
Asked to comment on developments in Ukraine (where he served as US Ambassador in 2013-2016), Pyatt said: “I have no idea what the outcome of all of this will be. But I know it will end in [Russian leader] the defeat of Vladimir Putin, and that Russia will be much weaker because of Putin’s choices”, but Ukraine will be more united and committed to its European process. He also referred to the civilian deaths in Mariupol, which he called “war crimes against the imperialist vision of a man coming out of the 18th or 19th century, not where we are now”.
Asked to comment on what he will miss most about Greece, he said the Greek light, the many beautiful places and the good food of Thessaloniki. Pyatt, the longest-serving US ambassador to Greece, was appointed to Athens in September 2016 and will step down in less than a month. He was the most visited U.S. Ambassador to Alexandroupolis during his tenure.
While in Thessaloniki, Pyatt also met separately with the Deputy Interior Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Stavros Kalafatis, and the Mayor of Thessaloniki, Konstantinos Zervas.
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